File photo of Virat Kohli after he scored 100 in 52 balls against Australia - the fastest ODI century by an Indian. (BCCI)
Former New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe feels India's new batting sensation Virat Kohli, which is now a well-established fact, is a combination of India's three most dominant batting forces - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag.
Writing in his column on ESPNCricinfo, Crowe said India owe their dominance on and off the cricket field to the batting greats they have produced, and Virat Kohli is proving to be the next in line.
"India are a vast energy, a thriving modern-day eruption. They are forcing their will on the world, in particular on the cricket world. Sachin Tendulkar did it for nearly two and half decades with a keen eye and trusty blade, transfixing all of us with his serenity and his strokes.
"Around him emerged more versions of it - Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag, for example. Yet it was Sachin who spread the word loud and afar. And with his departure rises Virat Kohli," Crowe wrote.
Describing Kohli as the 'chosen one', the former Kiwi captain said the right-hander has the qualities of all the three batting greats - two of who have retired and one striving to make a comeback.
"In some ways this young giant is a combination of all those three, learning a bit from them all to shape his own unique creation. He is the next chosen one. He exudes the intensity of Rahul, the audacity of Virender and the extraordinary range of Sachin. That doesn't make him better, simply sui generis, his own unique kind."
Crowe, who took New Zealand to the 1992 World Cup semi-finals, said Kohli has it in him to register himself as India's next batting legend. "Kohli has gone from pupil to teacher quickly, and his next level is to become a master. That he will achieve. It's in his eyes," he said.
Crowe also touched upon Kohli's aggressive nature.
"His badge is one of courage. He is fiercely focused. He is often fiery and emotional, possibly a product of his upbringing in Delhi. Yes, a fire burns within, sometimes wildly. His aggressive streetfighting qualities are worn on his sleeve. He looks for a fight. He singles out opposition for face-to-face interrogation; he even confronts officials."
And the New Zealander then explained how Kohli is similar to Sachin.
"Not unsurprisingly, Kohli will have learned mostly from Sachin, and even if it isn't so obvious, it's slowly becoming clearer. His stance is more closed than Sachin's, resulting in the leg-side stroke played around the pad, yet it is straightening year by year.
"By the time he reaches full throttle in a couple of years he will be perfectly aligned, as the master was. His last-second tap of the bat as the bowler gathers is such a classic and vital element from the Sachin book," he said.